We’re both honored and thrilled to announce that Cumulus Networks has been recognized as a “Visionary” in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Networking. You can download this highly-anticipated report here, and learn about other major trends in the industry.

So, what’s it mean to be a visionary? According to Gartner, “Visionaries have demonstrated an ability to increase the features in their offerings to provide a unique and differentiated approach to the market. A visionary has innovated in one or more of the key areas of data center infrastructure, such as management (including virtualization), security (including policy enforcement), SDN and operational efficiency, and cost reductions.”

We couldn’t be happier to be recognized, and to us, it means our company vision has paid off. We’ve created a culture of visionaries through inquisitive, innovative and bold leadership, and these same traits are seen in both our philosophy and our technology. As more and more organizations embrace web-scale IT, we expect to keep pushing the technology forward — always striving for a better network.

With 96% of Gartner’s survey respondents finding open networking to be a relevant buying criterion, and with the adoption of white-box switching to reach 22% by 2020, it’s clear that disaggregation and being open is the answer for forward-looking companies.
It is for these reasons and more that we think web-scale networking, a methodology based in open networking and disaggregation, is the future. As you may have already read, web-scale networking is a methodology inspired by the giant web-scale companies and their efficient, scalable networks. Essentially, web-scale takes the technology and practices that these giant data centers are using and applies them to organizations of all sizes. These practices include automation, open networking, disaggregation and NetDevOps.

It’s a bold concept, believing that every data center should be run as efficiently as, say, Google’s or Amazon’s. It takes a risk-embracing attitude and a vision for the directions that data centers are moving. The risk pays you back with scalability, lower TCO and improved efficiency.

But we know, for some, taking the jump into web-scale networking can be, well, a little unnerving. It’s different than how organizations have behaved for decades. Just like we have been forward-looking with disaggregation and web-scale networking, it’s important for your business to be forward-looking, too.

So how do you become a forward-looking, visionary company? Watch this short video to hear how key players at Cumulus Networks think about creating a culture of visionaries and innovators.

 

 

The key attributes seem simple, but their critical to both embrace and foster in order to future-proof your business. We sum them up here:

1. Transparency & communication: At Cumulus, we encourage employees to be transparent and communicate openly. This encourages collaboration and a sense of empowerment while ensuring employees are pushed and challenged.

As Fast Company puts it, “Ideas don’t always come from experts. Sometimes the greatest innovations come from novices and backroom tinkers. Open-minded organizations often convert off-the-wall ideas into marketable products.”

This applies to our technology as well. We encourage industry communication through our Slack channel and other social communities, and contribute technology to the community like VRF for Linux and FRRouting.

As you embrace web-scale IT, collaboration in both processes and execution is critical. This is where NetDevOps comes in. You’ll want your IT teams working together continually before, during and faster launch in order to maximize efficiency. Start building that sense of openness now.

2. Supportive environment to take risks: The Cumulus team is encouraged to try new things and provide new ideas. This is a critical part of a visionary environment. By allowing employees to try new things, you’ll be pushing your business forward. You’ll be inspiring innovation. You’ll be creating an environment where people are encouraged to think creatively.

Harvard Business Review takes it a little bit further. One article states, “Aim for 70% success. If you expect everyone to nail a task with 100% success, they are unlikely to take risks, which is an innovation killer. Letting them know that 70% success is OK will ensure they don’t play it too safe.” We couldn’t agree more.

If you want your organization to embrace web-scale IT (which you should), many individuals will see this as a risk (with benefits like lowered TCO by 60%, we don’t think there’s much of a risk. But hey, we get it). So it’s important that employees already feel like taking a risk is possible and even encouraged. Giving employees challenging projects and the freedom to come up with ideas will allow them to think out of the box for your web-scale implementation.

If you need help convincing a supervisor, check out this guide, How to convince your org to go web-scale.

3. Aligned vision: Most importantly, a vision is powerful with numbers behind it. It’s important that the entire organization is aligned with the company’s vision for its future and understands why it’s exciting. As Fast Company says, “An understanding of and commitment to the organization’s mission will guide employees when confronted by the unexpected for which no rules exist.”

As you think about moving towards web-scale IT, make sure your goals and reasons behind your goals are clear to the entire organization. Discuss the business benefits (efficiency, scalability, TCO), relevant use cases and the implementation strategy. The more you can share with your organization about the benefits of web-scale, the more you’ll be able to align your vision and execute with both innovation and ease.

Because of our beliefs in a culture of innovation, we are both honored and thrilled to be recognized in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Networking. The report is full of rich tidbits and insights surrounding industry trends and technology. We encourage you to take a read, and, hopefully, adopt some of these philosophies in your team to embrace the spirit of innovation.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.